WHEN Clevid Dikamona finally appeared from the bowels of Rugby Park an hour after a gut-wrenching defeat to St Johnstone, he wore the look of a man who had just been told some difficult news.
He spoke openly and without filter, and less than 40 minutes later we all found out what the Congolese international and his team-mates knew.
The 3-2 loss had forced owner Billy Bowie to call time on Alex Dyer’s reign, ending his three-year stay in Ayrshire and leaving the club to look for a seventh manager in five years.
Alex Dyer was relieved of his duties on Saturday night
While many will point the finger at the Englishman for Kilmarnock’s poor form, Dikamona – one of Dyer’s last signings – had his own take.
“Honestly, when you are 2-0 up like that and then you give three goals away, I don’t have the words to describe the feeling,” he said.
“As a defender, you feel as though it is your fault. Speaking about myself, personally, it’s tough.
“I was in this position last season with Hearts and we can’t give up. We still have some points more than the teams behind us, but we need to react right now. Not tomorrow, not in one week or one month. Right now.
“To make sure we at least keep the distance from relegation, we have to switch on now. Don’t think we’ll be okay next game.
“Maybe you can think the teams behind you also won’t win, but if we keep doing s**t like we did here, we’ll be in danger. In fact, we are already in danger. We have to think that way now.”
The sombre mood around Rugby Park was in contrast to the joy felt by Dyer and his men less than two hours earlier. In a frantic match, they had stormed into a half-time lead through Chris Burke and Aaron Tshibola, only for their lack of confidence to return in the second 45.
St Johnstone – admittedly the better side throughout – went for the jugular, pouncing on defensive lapses to score three goals in quick succession. Guy Melamed’s tidy finish started the Saints comeback with Murray Davidson and Ali McCann turning the game on its head.
“Each player needs to do the right thing,” Dikamona, 30, continued. “Do your own things properly and then, as a team, it’ll work properly.
“It’s easy to shout at people, but if you don’t do your own thing, it’ll be hard.
“I’m sure that if I do my thing properly, the guy on my right, or my left, or in front
of me, will do the same. All of us we know we make mistakes.
“I have to check myself properly and everyone will do the same. It’s difficult.”
Most troubling for Dikamona is that uneasy parallels to last season are beginning to appear. With Hearts he found himself in a struggling team who looked to have finally sparked into life, only for the Covid shutdown to consign them to relegation.
Clevid Dikamona during his Hearts days
The fear for those of an Ayrshire persuasion is the same fate could befall Killie, something the former Le Havre player is desperate to avoid.
“With the virus, we don’t know, maybe the season is cut and [the league]shut down,” he said. “Maybe the government thinks they’ll stop everything.
“So we need to make sure we are away from the position [bottom]after all games.
“We want to be in the top six, but we can’t be playing like that, so that means we need to understand it is from now.
“Last season we did that. We just played and played. We beat Rangers and Hibs and were winning, but then lost to St Mirren and the season was then done.
“So we need to make sure. We have to be calm. We need to do things properly because we have the quality to be higher in the table, so we need to try and relax.
“I know the situation is hard, but it’s life, and people have other difficult things happening in life.”